The new government initiatives mean that lone parents and disabled people will be able to continue to claim some benefits while they wait for their first pay cheque.
The social security secretary said:
'From today we are making sure lone parents and disabled people will continue to get support until their first pay cheque. We are making work pay and making work possible.'
'The government is committed to removing the barriers faced by lone parents who want to work,' said Mr Darling.
'Over the next twelve months the lone parent's benefit run-on will support tens of thousands of lone parents starting work, giving financial security to them and their children whilst they make the transition from benefits to wages.'
The new measures also mean that sick and disabled people who return to work will, from today, be able to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit for the first four weeks of their employment under the Extended Payments schemes. This will benefit over 20,000 people in the next twelve months alone.
1. From 4 October 1999 lone parents who have been getting income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance for at least six months will be paid income support for their first two weeks in work, provided that work is expected to last at least five weeks. Any wages they get for that work will be ignored. They already keep housing benefit and council tax benefit for their first four weeks in work.
2. From 4 October 1999 the housing benefit/council tax benefit extended payments schemes will be extended to include people who have been in receipt of income support or jobseeker's allowance with the disability premium or income support because they were incapable of work. The other normal conditions for extended payments will continue to apply.
3. The income support rules have also been amended to remove a potential barrier for lone parents who want to do work experience as part of the new deal for lone parents. From 4 October 1999 the notional earnings rules in income support will no longer affect new deal for lone parents and related scheme participants for up to twenty six weeks or 150 hours of work experience done as part of the programme.